Budget primer

The budget is the Province's roadmap for delivering programs and services for the coming year. It reflects government's priorities and commitments. It also outlines how government is going to pay for those programs and services, through taxes and borrowing.

The annual budget is also called the estimates, because it is an estimate of how much money government will spend and receive in the upcoming year. The budget also outlines the fiscal plan, which is the long-term projection of the province's finances.

The budget cycle includes consultations, budget preparation and final tallies of spending and revenue.

The budget cycle

The budget cycle begins April 1 and ends the following March 31. A number of milestones in the budget process happen throughout the year.

The final content of the budget

The budget is introduced in the House of Assembly by the government. It reflects key government priorities and detailed choices about where to spend money and how to raise revenue. Pre-budget consultations and research and analysis help shape what's in the budget. The budget comes to a vote in the legislature.

How do you know the budget is on track?

Throughout the year, government checks in with the public to tell them if the roadmap is leading the province where it thought it would. In Nova Scotia, these are called forecast updates and they occur usually in September, December and April. If revenue or expenses are off track, then adjustments can be made. After the fiscal year is over, government produces documents that show where the budget was spent. This is called public accounts, and it closes the books on the fiscal year.